Case Study – Creating New Family Memories
Support provided by Bolton Toy Library as part of the IThrive 2 – 11 years programme
We received a referral from the IThrive Hub for Olivia 6 years old who was struggling with anxieties, separation from Mum, emotional outbursts, sleep problems, Mum was struggling with her challenging behaviour and School had concerns. During our weekly one to one sessions, we listened to Mum who was struggling with low mood/depression whilst going through a traumatic separation from her husband. We worked on a family focused approach. Mum felt guilty at being upset in front of Olivia, she felt like she did all the boring mundane things, work, school runs, homework, shopping whilst her ex husband gave Olivia fun activities with his new partner and her 4 year old daughter. Mum’s stress levels were heightened as Christmas was approaching and it would be their first Christmas apart as a family. Olivia was very distressed and anxious about leaving her Mum when she stayed at her Dad’s but really enjoyed herself whilst she was there. We worked with Olivia using play, she chose people in her house who represented her new family, we worked through her emotions, learning to identify them, we talked about her jittery tummy, her pains in her head identifying them as worries when she left Mummy, how it felt when she knew Mummy was sad and she felt sad. We used emotion cards/stones to work various scenarios which helped her identify and understand her feelings. We tailored her Emotional Health Kit to practice calm breathing, to use the emotion bear game reinforcing good feelings. We praised and supported Mum to help build on her coping skills; we helped her make little steps in creating ‘Fun Friday’ where they played together using their EH Kit, went swimming, building new family memories for them both. Over the weeks, with this repetition in session and at home, Mum was relieved to see that there was a marked improvement in Olivia’s anxieties and behaviour. They were having more fun times together and she had adopted a ‘gratitude journal at the end of the day to end the day on a positive note.